Saturday, November 28, 2009

A “Capital” Visit

Our first mission in Cagliari—the regional capital—was breakfast (Trofie Wife insists that we never miss breakfast when it’s included in the price of our hotel stay, sleep be damned), not knowing that we would be encountering quite possibly the best hotel breakfast in the history of hotel breakfasts. The buffet table was lined with, amongst a plethora of treats, the freshest, yummiest pecorino sardo, really good jam, surprisingly yummy café americano (Trofie Wife usually avoids it in Italy, opting for the more reliable espresso), and juice from every tree in the orchard. We now understood why there was fairly heavy security at the front door and checking of room numbers.

Cagliari city walls

Our last day in Sardegna was spent touring craft stores, the San Benedetto indoor market (we so wished we had access to a refrigerator for all the produce, fish, and cheese, but we at least came away with some great honey), and sipping drinks in the famed Café Antico, which turned out to be somewhat disappointing along with the gelateria that was supposed to have 280 flavors, but only boasted a paltry two dozen and most of them were canned, not fresh. Far more interesting was the hilly walk through the city walls (though Trofie Wife was a bit tired/complainy—it was super hot), searching for the old Jewish ghetto (evidence remains of the ghetto entrance and old synagogue site, though a church sits atop it now), and seeing the duomo all decked out for the upcoming holiday (Ferragosto—a holiday honoring Mary’s rise to heaven).

Old Jewish quarter

"The Ghetto" is an arts and cultural center that has nothing to do with Jewish culture. It was closed while we were wandering.

Narrow, winding alleys 

Although our time in Sardegna was coming to an end, our vacation was not (yes, we are ridiculously spoiled). That evening, we flew from Cagliari to Trieste (pretty much as far north and east as you can go in Italy) on our first Ryan Air flight. For those of you unfamiliar, it’s a budget Irish airline that lets you easily hop from one European city to another. The catch is that while the ticket prices are low, they charge you up the wazoo for all the extras (including reserved seats; it's quite a scramble to grab two together during regular boarding). If your luggage is above weight (as was ours), you pay. Annoying, but still probably less costly than a flight on a major airline.

Trofie Wife believes that the urge to visit Trieste was first implanted in her brain during her much beloved Joyce course in college (which inspired a trip to Dublin several years ago). More on this soon, but Joyce spent nearly two decades here and his experiences in the city likely both inspired much of what appears in Ulysses and Finnegan’s Wake. As we started reading more about Italy, Trofie Wife learned that there was and still is quite a large Jewish presence in the city along with a great deal of other culinary and cultural delights. Martello obliged and found a beautiful little hotel (with a mezuzah, interestingly enough) right in the center of it all—we loved it so much that we booked two additional nights after breakfast that first morning.

Our first view of La Piazza d’Unita d’Italia, the central square in Trieste, was breathtaking, lit up in blue and bustling with activity. We just knew that we had arrived in a special place and couldn’t wait to explore the next morning.

Baci e gelato,
Martello e Trofie


Tamil Home Recipes said...

Good post.

Olive Tree Guitar Ensemble said...

Hi, it's a very great blog.
I could tell how much efforts you've taken on it.
Keep doing!

Trofie Wife said...

Thanks for your kind comments. New posts coming soon!

Di said...

And you have a blog :)